After two thrilling rounds, it was Jeroen Dubbeldam and BMC Utascha SFN that took home the first qualifier of the 2012/2013 Rolex FEI World Cup season in Oslo. The Dutch rider did a fantastic job on the 11 year old Lux-daughter, who seems to have gained great confidence in herself – jumping absolutely amazing in both rounds. Beat Mändli ended second on Louis 162 (Lord Pezi x Ultraschall) – a horse that has had a great comeback after undergoing colic surgery in April, while the new super duo Sergio Alvares Moya on Carlo 273 (Contender x Cascavelle) yet again did two super rounds to finish third at his second show on the amazing grey gelding.
For a long time it looked like there would be very few clears. After Beat opened the class as first to go with a clear round, the next eleven riders left the arena with one or more fences down – and no less than three of them retired. It was the line from the triple bar at nine to the imposing triple combination [vertical-oxer-vertical] at 10a, b and c that caused most heart ache and riders such as Katharina Offel, Gregory Wathelet, Steve Guerdat, Denis Lynch and Edwina Tops-Alexander all got in trouble here. The triple bar took a lot out of the horses and it was quite a delicate line as the triple combination opened with a vertical – and as it was towards the end of the course some horses ran a little out of power.
Some were really unlucky though; like Daniel Deusser who had the first fence down on Lillyfee (Limbus x Carthago) and Kevin Staut who had a superb round on Silvana HDC (Corland x Widor) but had to see the FEI vertical fall to the ground.
Jeroen Dubbeldam was the next to go clear after Beat. The 2000 Olympic gold medalist did a great job with BMC Utascha SFN who is not the most uncomplicated mare to ride, and did a convincing and very relaxed performance around the thirteen fence track. Eventually the two riders got company in the jump-off, but that first happened as the ten last riders entered the ring. Scott Brash did a super round on his gold winner from London, Hello Sanctos (Quasimodo vd Molendreef x Nabab de Reve) and went clear – as did Sergio Alvares Moya who has impressed everybody aboard Carlo 273 this weekend. What a match made in heaven these two are! Maikel van der Vleuten on VDL Groep Verdi (Quidam de Revel x Landgraf I), Rolf-Göran Bengtsson on Carusso LS La Silla (Montebello La Silla x Joost), Pius Schwizer on the impressive eight year old Powerplay (Casall x Limbus) and William Funnel on Billy Congo (Vechta x Animo) all went clear and joined in.
The jump-off was bound to be fast with riders of this caliber in it. Beat did a super job with putting plenty of pressure on the other riders when he went clear on Louis in a really fast time; the Swiss rider got a super turn to the third fence and into the combination placed as the fifth fence – but took a small check on the last stretch crossing the finish line on 43.83 seconds.
Jeroen was next to go, and had a really good flow from start to finish. The Dutch rider got a great turn to the Rolex oxer and had super rhythm around the shortened eight fence track. The time was good as well, but it was really close as Jeroen managed to shave off 0.04 seconds of Beat’s time. Scott was next to go but had the a-element if the triple combination down. Sergio on the other hand had luck – and a lot more on his side. Carlo jumps out of this world, and this new combination really suit each other – words can not describe how wonderful it is to watch the joy of Carlo when he jumps in the ring. Although Sergio had a bit of a hairy moment in the turn to the penultimate vertical he left it intact and his time of 43.98 was good enough to slot into third – a spot he held on to. What a great weekend for Sergio and Carlo, who also were clear in the Grand Prix yesterday. The last four riders all had fences down; Maikel took the front pole on the final oxer, while Rolf and Pius had two down and William took down the Rolex oxer.
The victory must have tasted sweet for Jeroen, after a year with ups and maybe even more downs with Utascha. Today their partnership took a new turn though, and Jeroen could put a big smile on his face taking home a brand new Land Rover and the lead in the Western European League.
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